Photos, story by Jill Beckel
To say that the talent of Explore Philly are cat lovers is an extreme understatement. We love cats, sharing cat videos and memes, and pretty much anything cat-related. When we got a chance to check out Le Cat Café, we practically purred with joy.
Le Cat Café opened March 9, 2016 on 2713 W. Girard Avenue, Philadelphia. The owner, Kathy Jordan, has been doing animal rescue work since 2002. She loves cats and has 12 of her own at home! Le Cat Cafe is a non-profit organization that hopes to find homes for lots of deserving cats in addition to offering a unique cafe experience to its cat-loving visitors.
In 1989, Taiwan started the cat café trend by opening the first cat café which became extremely popular. KitTea was the first cat café to open in the U.S. in San Francisco. Now, cat cafes are opening all over the U.S. in DC, New York, Florida and now Philadelphia. There are an estimated 382,000 stray, feral and free-roaming cats in Philadelphia alone and Le Cat Café hopes to help more of them by helping them to find their forever homes. According to their website, Le Cat Cafe, “is a new adoption platform for Green Street Rescue. Green Street Rescue (GSR) is a Philadelphia non-profit (501c3). We are focused on rescuing stray and homeless cats and practicing TNRM** (Trap, Neuter, Return, Manage) for the feral cats in the city. Our mission also includes finding foster homes and eventual adoptions for the friendly rescues. GSR provides education, information, and services, which assist in trapping, rescue, fostering, and the adoption of the cats. The resident cats at Le Cat Cafe all come from GSR. Last year we assisted 348 cats in finding a better life. This year to date, we have rescued 163 cats and adopted out 55.”
Le Cat Café is an open café in a fun, relaxing environment. The café environment allows you to get to know a cat and the cat’s personality before you adopt it so the chance of it being a good fit for you and your family from the beginning is greatly increased. Unfortunately, lots of cats who are adopted from shelters end up back there if the owners feel like the cat is not a good fit for them or their family. By vising Le Cat Cafe first and truly getting to know a cat’s personality and behaviors, the adopter can choose which cat appeals to them the most. Since a lot of the café cats spend time in a foster home before coming to the café, Kathy can better determine which cats are good are children, how they react to homes that have no pets or multiple pets, etc. These factors also increase the chance of a successful adoption.
Kathy loves helping open peoples’ eyes about rescuing cats. She educates people about cats and how to properly care for them. She knows from her days of working at Green Street Rescue how much stray cats suffer on the street. They are starving, cold, and often abused. Most of the cats that you see in the café were found on a Philadelphia street and then taken to the vet. They then live in a foster home for a while to make sure that they are good with people. Then they come to the café when there’s room in hopes of finding their forever home. Kathy said that “each adoption actually saves two cats” because one goes home with you and then it opens up a space for another cat to be added to the café for their own chance of a successful adoption.
At Le Cat Café, the cats get play time and lots of loving interaction from other cats and people verses being sad, lonely, scared and locked in a cage at a shelter. The café environment allows people to get their “cat fix” even if for some reason they can’t own cats. This makes it a great option for senior citizens who are unable to care for pets, college students living in a dorm, people who live in places where you can’t have pets, etc.
All of the kitties seemed healthy, happy, and active. Some seemed to be just waking up from their cat naps when we arrived. There were many cat beds, full food bowls and places for the cats to climb and explore. It was a truly a cat and a cat lover’s paradise! We got to pet every cat, play with them and watch them play and interact with each other. They curiously rubbed our legs and even jumped up on our notepad during our visit to let us know that we were welcome and they’d appreciate a pet. In typical cat fashion, they love to be the center of attention.
The café has attracted a wide variety of visitors so far and can hold a maximum of 20 people at a time. You can reserve an hour (or more!) visit at the café ahead of time for just $12 an hour. Walk-ins are $15 per hour. Students, senior citizens and active military personnel are $10 per hour. This fee covers an hour at the café with one hot beverage (coffee, tea, hot chocolate). This fee goes to cover costs of the cats’ food, litter and medical bills. The café can be rented out for a minimum of one hour for parties, events, business meetings and birthday parties (please call for more details). Monday nights are “cats and mats” nights where for $15 you can take a yoga class with all the cats in the café joining in too. Gift cards are also available for that special cat lover in your life! Schedule your visit here.
If you’re interested in adopting, it’s $110 per cat which covers neutering/spaying, vaccinations and flea and parasite treatment. You can begin the application process with Kathy to bring your cat or cats home in no time! Kathy recommends adopting two cats so they have a playmate when you’re not home! Studies have shown that two cats are better for the mental and physical well-being of your pet. As of our interview date, seven cats from the cafe have been adopted so far.
Le Cat Café is open 6 days a week. In addition to Kathy, Michelle is the other full-time staff member and all the other staff are volunteers who love helping cats in their free time. The staff help open and close the café and help monitor the guests’ interactions with the cats.
Please see Le Cat Cafe’s website for more info and adorable bios of all the cats. Some of them come from sad backgrounds, but you can help make the rest of their 9 lives happy by adopting one of these friendly cats today. And if you can’t adopt, you’ll still be making a difference by visiting them, petting their cute, furry faces and supporting a non-profit that is truly determined to make a difference in this beautiful city.
Le Cat Cafe Hours:
- Closed Monday
- Tuesday – Thursday 12 – 2 pm and 3 – 6 pm
- Friday- Saturday 12 – 2 pm and 3 – 7 pm
- Sunday 12 – 2 pm and 3 – 6 pm
(*The café is closed daily from 2 – 3 pm so the cats can have a peaceful nap.)